Amid lingering controversy, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced his bid for re-election on Monday just one month before the candidate submission deadline.
The mayor will have until Jan. 2, 2014, to acquire the 2,000 Democratic petition signatures necessary to proceed as a viable mayoral candidate.
Gray’s bid for re-election comes in the midst of a federal investigation involving alleged illegal donations during his 2010 mayoral campaign. While Gray has denied all allegations of wrongdoing, four former members of Gray’s campaign have since pleaded guilty in federal court.
Gray will face a diverse group of candidates in the Democratic primary April 1, including council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Vincent Orange (D-At Large) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) in addition to newcomers such as prolific D.C. restaurant owner Andy Shallal and former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis.
Both Bowser and Wells have already sent e-mails to their supporters citing Gray’s past legal troubles even though he has yet to be charged with a crime.
In a letter to supporters, Gray focused on improvements from his term such as balancing the District budget, reducing unemployment, improving education and growing D.C.’s economy.
With the holiday season already here, Gray announced that he would not pursue a formal campaign until the beginning of next year.
“We are accomplishing what we set out to do. Step by step, we are moving our city forward. We have built strong foundations. But our work is not done,” Gray wrote in a letter to supporters.